Moving in : Barcelona


Gas, Electricity, Water in Barcelona


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Utilities in Barcelona were once dominated by the monopolies of electricity distributor Fecsa Endesa and gas distributor Gas Natural. However, the market was deregulated in 2003 and now there are more options. Users can choose between annual fixed tariffs (tarifa regulada) or opt for the free-market (tarifa libre) packages with variable rates. Some companies also offer combined gas and electric deals. Landlords may pay for utilities out of the rent payment, determine the payment system in the contract.

Gas

Gas is usually already installed in most properties and it will simply take picking a local gas company to have it switched on, getting the meter read, and the signing of a supply contract. to start using service.

To install gas service for the first time, it is necessary to call a registered installation engineer (instalador autorizado). To find a registered engineer, call the local Catalan body (Ferca; 93 453 69 06) for contacts. Costs vary, but there is usually a 30 euro callout fee and a rate of 65 euro an hour for the inspection. The actual installation cost will be in addition to this.

Once it is installed, a certificate is issued. This costs an additional charge of around 120 euro which covers the production of the certificado (sometimes called a boletín) and registration. That certificate automatically registers the user with Gas Natural, regardless of which company you then opt for.

    The property owner will also require:
  • Photocopy and original of passport or NIE
  • Photocopy of another utility bill for the same address
  • Certificate provided by technician for gas inspection

Butane bottled gas (bombonas) can easily be purchased from local petrol stations, supermarkets and other suppliers.

Providers

Billing

Gas bills vary depending on the company, and if you have a combined gas/electricity plan. There are government-fixed (tarifa regulada) prices per month, excluding VAT.

    A basic guide to cost per month:
  • Low use (cooking/hot water) - 2.44 euro
  • Medium use (cooking/heating/hot water) - 5.46 euro
  • High use (cooking/central heating/hot water) - 42.31

Bill are sent bi-monthly (every two months). These include a VAT (IVA) of 16 percent. Bills are commonly pad by direct debit (domiciliación bancaria).

Electricity

Power supply in Spain (as is the rest of Europe) is between 220-240 volts. If you need an adaptor, they are sold at most hardware stores (ferreteria). Note that converters are harder to find. Electrical plugs are generally standard two pin.

The largest consumer of electricity among appliances is the home air conditioning system. This creates price spikes as usage surges every summer. Every degree below 25 degrees results in an extra 8 percent higher usage of energy.

If you are the owner of a new house and the electricity has not been installed you must contact Fecsa customer services (atención al cliente) at 90 250 77 50 (English spoken on request).

    Necessary documents:
  • Certificado de Instalación de Baja Tensión (or Boletín de Instalaciones Eléctricas)
  • Documento de Primera Ocupación
  • Cédula de Habitabilidad - asserts the space is fit for habitation, available at http://www.cedulahabitabilidad.com/

To receive the certificate, an inspector will be sent for fees between 130 to 200 euro. The fee is dependent on the size of the dwelling.

If the home is already supplied with electricity, you only need to change the name of the account (la titularidad).

Providers

Billing

Bills are usually sent every two months. Amounts vary depending on the supplier, consumption levels, and whether you opt for fixed tarif or free-market tarif. The average Spanish household uses three to five megawatt band, generating two-monthly bills of around 60 euro, including VAT and charges.

Water

Water from the tap is safe to drink, but has an unpleasant taste. Most people purchase bottled water, often in bulk. The city also has high calcium levels. This means there is a high amount of calcification in areas or items that come in regular contact with water. Decalcifying tablets for shower fittings, steam irons, wine glasses, etc can help.

To establish a connection, call atención al cliente at 900 710 710.

    They will require:
  • NIE (Numero de Identificación de Extranjeros)
  • Sale or rental contract (contrato de compra o alquiler)
  • Cédula de Habitabilidad - asserts the space is fit for habitation, available at http://www.cedulahabitabilidad.com/
  • Bank details

Upon signing the contract, water should be available within four days. A connection fee of 50 euros is charged on the first bill.

Providers

Water is supplied exclusively by Aigues de Barcelona (Grupo Agbar).

Billing

Shortages are rare, but water bills are high when compared to the rest of Spain. The cost of a water bill is calculated either based on the metered amount of water consumed, or as a fixed rate, based on the size of your property and the number of faucets. It is estimated that a one-child family in an average flat consumes 12 cubic meters of water a month, which is about 18 euro. Bills are sent out every three months.

Waste Collection & Recycling

Rubbish collection in metropolitan Barcelona is the job of the Ajuntament. Every street or block is assigned large grey dumper bins (contenedores) for waste. Rubbish is collected every night at around 22:00.

Recycling is encouraged with the distribution of terylene bags to each household, all labeled in Catalan.

  • Green is for glass (vidre)
  • Yellow for plastic packaging and cans (envasos i llaunes)
  • Blue for paper


Update 17/10/2011

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